By Jubin Katiraie
Iran’s parliamentary research center published a report on April 7 about the impact of coronavirus in Iran, summarising and updating 20 previous confidential reports that were produced over the past couple of months for various committees.
The report, entitled “Assessments about the Path Taken and the Imperatives of the Path Forward”, highlights many facts about the coronavirus crisis. Here, we will look at the main portions and how the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reacted to it.
The report says that epidemiologists believe that the virus has yet to peak in Iran and that relaxing social distancing measures, as President Hassan Rouhani is pushing for, will “probably lead to renewed expansion of the disease”.
It acknowledged that most countries, forced to choose between public health and the economy, have chosen health and have implemented a lockdown, banning non-essential work. However, the reports say that this “will require significant financial investment” and have consequences in the “economic and social arenas”.
Iran has not reached a specific approach and has tried to implement social distancing without slowing down the economy, something that has not been successful.
The report said: “[The] lack of a country-wide counter pandemic program on the basis of the country’s circumstances and experiences of other countries, including short-term measures, and constantly retreating from declared policies and lack of coordination were all patent features of the response to coronavirus after the initial state of shock…. Such constantly changing and uncoordinated measures are effectively deemed among the public as part of a faltering, naive and incompetent approach.”
This does not bode well as the crisis continues with the government has still not settled on a way forward and the people not trusting them, something that will cause security issues in the coming months.
The research center recommended that the authorities avoid this by better managing state-run media, confronting factual reports in foreign media and online, and leveraging the situation for sanctions relief.
The NCRI reminded us, first off, that this report was created to preserve the government’s interests, but that it was still useful for outsiders because it confesses to things that the authorities have been trying to hide, for example:
- the government is suffering from systematic chaos
- the government’s current approach will lead to more infections and more deaths
- short-term, changing measures are detrimental to the people
- the authorities’ management is inefficient
The NCRI also reported that even the research center does not have comprehensive statistics regarding infections and deaths because the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) deem this as confidential.
The NCRI wopprote: “The essence of this warning is that the regime must prevent, at all cost and in all manners, the formation of widespread protests and social uprisings due to widespread killings, the regime’s incompetence, cover-ups, structural corruption and avoidance of placing resources in the hands of the people, as well as the regime’s role in the spread of the virus in the country. This is because if such an uprising were to form, it would threaten the regime in its entirety…. However, this is a realistic prospect for the regime, and there is a high probability that the regime’s fate will be sealed soon.”